September 10th, 2013

Swarovski earring pendant sets





Click on pix for closer look

Every time I’ve loading the tumbler in the last week I’ve said either to myself or to my husband – well, this is the last one and everything will be ready. HA! As if that was true. I just finished taking the pendants and earrings out of the drying rack and realized that I had made a new necklace last week and it hadn’t found it’s way to the tumbler yet. So off I go with another load as I realized a necklace from a few months ago looks a little dingy.Maybe this will truly be the last load.

In 2 weeks I’ll be doing Girl’s Night Out in Saranac on Thursday, September 26. And in the first part of October we’ll be heading to Rhode Island to World Burn Congress for burn survivors and I’ve got more jewelry to make for that. Then the Christmas shows start…

Fallasburg Festival is this coming Saturday and Sunday, September 14-15 at Fallasburg Park north of Lowell. 10-5 both days. So come on out and see what I’ve been busy creating and polishing up for you!

A new adventure!

September 6th, 2013

3 jap brac w pretty clasp





Please click  on picture for a closer look.

Next week is the Fallasburg Festival north of Lowell, MI in Fallasburg Park. I was fortunate enough to be juried in this year and now that it’s only a week away I am quite nervous. I’ve been doing art shows in Wisconsin for quite a few years so it’s not that I’ve never done these before. However, it is the first show I’ve done in a long, long time that I will not know another artist there. In Wisconsin I belonged to an art group called 14 South Artists and made lots of friends. We put on our own shows at least once a year, if not twice sometimes. And we did it all as a group — find the venue, advertising, putting up fliers, try to get publicity and all the other things involved in an art show. When you work with a group of folks you make lasting friendships and now that I’m doing a show without them it’s kind of nerve wracking. It seems that most years I’ve been next to Ralph Stromquist who is a wonderful nature photographer. Some times I was next to Ann Kleckner who is a glass artist in the fused glass area.And when I did a show that wasn’t a 14 South Artist show there were still folks there I knew.

I’ve thought for quite a few years about applying for the Fallasburg show but the same weekend in Wisconsin we had a 2 day art tour where artists showed their work off – often in their workshop. I was fortunate enough to be asked to display at the home of Ann Miller (no relationship) in Oregon. Ann creates amazing stained glass pieces – often on commission for folk’s homes. Why would I leave Wisconsin to come to Lowell when I had a great art show that weekend so I never applied. However, we moved back to Wisconsin last fall and I was thrilled to be able to apply. I was even more thrilled to be accepted!! This is a show that’s not easy to get into.

But the show is closing in and time is running out. I’ve been weaving bracelets and pendants and earrings like a mad woman. And I wanted to show folks a few of the things I’ve made in the last few weeks. That’s when I realized how much I liked my Nikon digital camera. It’s not working well right now and I’ve been trying to learn to use my hubby’s little Kodak. When you see the pix of the bracelet you will see how much I need to learn about this camera or just break down and buy another Nikon.

So if you’re in Wisconsin please click the above line for 14 South Artist and visit their tour next weekend.

But if you’re in Michigan I hope to see you next weekend at Fallasburg!! I’m in spot 16, really close to the road in front before you get to the drive with the stone arch. Please stop by and say hi. Read the rest of this entry »

A new learning curve!

August 23rd, 2013

 Miller, Joella image #2





Please click on picture for closer look.

Well, as I look at the last date I wrote anything on here I see 2 years have passed.

Originally from Michigan, we lived in Wisconsin at the time I started my jewelry making and blog.

In 2011, we made the decision to get ready to put our house on the market and move back to Michigan. Last October (of 2013) we moved back to Michigan and actually live about 3 miles from where we lived before.

I had established my business over the years, had met fellow artists and had found art shows and a couple of small galleries to sell my work. And now the learning curve! Where are the shows? Which ones are the good ones? Will I make new artist friends?

Well, I’ve been lucky enough to be juried into the Fallasburg Fall Festival just outside of Lowell, MI. This event has been going on for quite a few years and I feel very fortunate to be included this year.

Another learning curve is using a camera to photograph my jewelry. As I was discussing this issue on Facebook with a friend of mine whose does wonderful work with seed beads we were talking about it. I had learned to use our first digital camera (a Nikonv990)by sitting down for about 3 or 4 days and ignoring the housework and everything else while I played with all the settings. I’m not a great photographer but I learned to take clear decent pictures of my jewelry. Now we have a new camera and the learning curve is back again.

Please come and see my work at Fallasburg this year! I’d love to see you and show you my work! I’m in booth # 16.







They’re going to hell now…

June 5th, 2011


You may wonder at the title of this blog post but while at the Dane County Farmer’s Market today I discovered a pendant was stolen. I commented out loud that I just realized that someone had stolen a piece of jewelry. 2 ladies at my booth asked what was stolen and when I told them it was a sterling cross that I had made — they said at the same time “Well, they’re going to hell for sure.” I was quite amused ’cause the thought crossed my mind that if you’re going to steal something a cross wouldn’t be at the top of most folk’s mind, I wouldn’t think. But then again, I’m not sure if everyone realizes the significance of what the cross means to most folks.

I have to say I’ve been quite fortunate in that this is only the second item that I’ve had stolen in about 6 or 7 years of doing shows but it did kind of top of the day since I and all the other vendors in my area got 30.00 parking tickets today. I’ve parked in that lot for 3 years myself and some of the vendors have parked there for years and years. If they didn’t like us parking there they could have left notices that there was a change in someone’s policy and we shouldn’t be parking there. I’m guessing Walker’s minions thought it was a good way to raise some extra money but all they’ve done is p*ss us off even more…

On the flip side, the weather was wonderful today — sunny and a bit of a breeze so we didn’t mind the 80 some degrees today when last week it was in the 40’s with rain. Folks were in great moods today and having a wonderful time. The air just vibrated with the energy at the market today.

Something to talk about!

February 22nd, 2011


My newest piece of jewelry for the year. And the story behind it.

Sea of Love

January 23rd, 2011


The link above will take you to the project for Week 3 of Year of Jewelry.

The paper I used in this week’s project really looked like an ocean to me and I’m glad to see that in the end the pendant still have that watery look to it – waves with ‘stuff’ among them.

Still here but behind…

January 16th, 2011

This link will take you to another blog where I have posted what I did the first week in January with jewelry. http://www.bleilysgems.com/YearofJewelry2011/2011/01/variation-on-a-weave-week-1/

For those trying to read this on a regular basis, you will have noticed that there was nothing posted here since we went to World Burn Congress in Galveston in October 2010. The Congress was quite exhilarating as I was debuting a line of jewelry created to raise awareness and support for burn survivors. The response was overwhelming and I sold out of almost everything I took — 80 pieces of jewelry! I came home with 3 bracelets, 3 necklaces and a single charm left. I immediately ordered more charms to have in stock.

Christmas was around the corner and I was able to deliver my last 2 orders the Monday before Christmas. We headed home that week to spend time with family and friends – made the trip through Chicago and to my mom’s house where upon the fuel pump died. So thankful it died there and not in Chicago!!

We made it back to WI in time for Don to help tear down the train layout at Rotary Gardens in Janesville for another year.

While he was working on that, I was catching up on emails and some paperwork. I realized that it was time to start another Year of Jewelry on one of the forums that I check out periodically. I’ve thought about it in the past but was never in the right spot at the right time. And this year it worked!

I’ve committed to creating a piece of jewelry every week. And the link at the top of this page is the posting about it. There will be weeks this year where that is what will be posted here also. Hope you enjoy it as a challenge for jewelry artists to create their piece around a theme. Themes have never been something I’ve dealt well with – whether it was a theme in a book for English class or…

Invisible walls!

October 10th, 2010

Yesterday at the Market in Madison I opted not to put  up my canopy for the day. It was October 9 and the weatherman was predicting about 80 degrees for the day.It actually broke a 131 year record for temps on that date —  85 degrees!

I’m on the ‘shady’ side of the street and knew the sun would be behind Park Bank by 10:30 at the latest and I would be in the shade the rest of the day.So leaving the canopy in the truck Don and I started to set up my tables. Talk about disoriented — it’s amazing how much I depend on those ‘invisible walls’ when I set up my booth. There are only the 4 corner post of  the canopy legs but not having them really threw me off. I had to rearrange my tables twice to put them in the proper place because of the totally different feeling.

I had wonderful light all day on my jewelry and it worked out beautifully in the end but I realized how dependent I am on the ‘invisible walls’. And the more I thought about it last night the more it occurred to me that we all have ‘invisible walls’ of a sort in many different things we do. We are so used to having things run a particular way that do do it differently confuses not only us, but others around us. I know when I was growing up I was so tired of hearing ‘ We’ve always done it that way’! And long into my 20s and 30s I heard it. Even when we moved to a new state and neighborhood I heard that – on City Council and church committees I hear the familiar refrain – we’ve always done it that way’. For many things, it is a good deal to follow the past practice – while on the Personnel Committee for the City, we wrote the first Personnel Manual and following those past practices was a good thing and we were usually quite glad to hear ‘ we’ve always done it that way’. But some committees get quite tired of hearing that refrain when trying to bring some new blood to an old organization that needs a bit of a boost.

So while you are out and about this week — try to break down those ‘invisible walls’ and see how things go!

Phoenix Society

August 25th, 2010

Please click on picture for total view

For the last couple of years, I have donated 5% of my total sales to the Phoenix Society as they are doing much needed work for burn survivors. I’ve also toyed with how to do a continual fundraiser through my business and I’m thrilled to announce that I will be premiering a line of awareness jewelry featuring a sterling charm with the Phoenix on it. As we speak the charms are being made so I do not have a charm to show you yet but I was so excited that we (myself and the Phoenix Society) are at this point I had to share!

The Phoenix Society is an important part of our life. For those who know me only online do not know my husband is a burn survivor of 54 years. Until we were in our late 30s or early 40s we had never met another burn survivor.

One day on the noon news he saw a news piece about a burn survivor meeting in Grand Rapids – not far from where we lived at the time. He went to a meeting and met a wonderful woman named Amy Acton. At the time, Amy was head nurse of the Burn Unit at Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids and she had started this support group. Through this group Don learned of the Phoenix Society and we were fortunate enough to get some funding through the Phoenix Society to attend the World Burn Congress which is sponsored by the Phoenix Society in Detroit that year.

What a conference! We met a wonderful group of survivors and learned that the Phoenix Society was started by a gentleman named Alan Breslau after he was burned in a plane crash in 1963. After working for many years with burn survivors he started The Phoenix Society – named after the bird that rises from the ashes, renewed and better than before! Alan retired in 1998 and the Board of Directors named Amy Acton as their new chairperson.

We have not been able to attend WBC every year but have attended many over the years. And we are going to World Burn Congress again this year — this time it is in Galveston, TX. Every year, it is held in a different part of the country to make it easier for a variety of folks to attend who may not be able to travel long distances due to physical and monetary issues.

What goes around, comes around

August 9th, 2010

There is no picture today — I’m just too danged tired to look for one in my files.

I just got home from doing a show at Tallman House in Janesville and I’m whipped.

First it rained for 2 and 1/2 hours during setup then when it quit the wind came up — and gusted. A couple of times I held onto my little EZ UP debating what else the weather was going to do today. And then I heard breaking glass — checked the lady next to me with stained glass, not her. It was a couple of booths over – a watercolorist who lost the glass on a painting when the wind picked the picture right up off the easel and slammed it onto the ground.

Next time I peeked out I saw a lady who had just a backyard canopy that had  flipped over – didn’t appear to damage anything at her booth. And then I heard some woman yelling behind me. Her canopy had apparently cartwheeled end for end. After checking I began to smile — this was a women who berated her husband and daughters loudly and often while they tried to help her  set up a canopy for the second time (first time apparently in the backyard while the sun was shining). I’m guessing it was a while ago and no one made notes ’cause they took it apart and put it back together 3 times. The neighbor beside me quietly offered to help her and noticed that it was put together wrong. When pointing it out to her, the inexperienced woman informed everyone around her she had ‘good problem solving skills – it said so on her first grade report card!”.  The rest of us all rolled our eyes and snickered. It’s been a while since that woman had been in first grade, let me tell you!!

Today was a good lesson in being prepared. 2 and 1/2 hours of rain followed by wind gusts of 30mph or so followed by a  rise in the humidity till we sweat while standing still in the shade.

The good thing about today was I had a very nice neighbor from Milwaukee who makes very cool jewelry too — Bad Dog Studio I believe is her business name. Together we rolled our eyes and made smart remarks about folks who are ornery and make everyone else’s morning a little more miserable than it needed to be.